Kyle Osborne claims his rights were violated when he was asked to leave a council meeting

By Jennifer Jenks
Burns Times-Herald

A complaint for open meeting law violation was filed in Harney County Circuit Court Dec. 22, 2010, by Kyle Osborne against the City of Burns, Mayor Len Vohs, City Manager Don Munkers, Police Chief Randy Cook and City Counselors Dan Hoke and Craig LaFollette.

The complaint alleges that on the evening of Oct. 27, 2010, Osborne went to Burns City Hall to attend the regularly scheduled city council meeting. While waiting for the meeting to start, the complaint states, Osborne was asked to step into the hallway by Cook and was told that the city council and city manager had determined that Osborne was not welcome at the meeting and that if he stayed, he would be arrested for criminal trespass, among other things.

Under threat of arrest, Osborne left and did not attend the meeting.

According to the complaint, it was found by information and belief that the decision to remove Osborne from the meeting was made by Vohs, Hoke and LaFollette and was made in an executive session, even though the decision was not one that was subject to an executive session exception.

The complaint additionally asserts that, pursuant to ORS 192.680(3), all actions taken by the council after Osborne’s removal are voidable by the court.

Among other items, the complaint lists the following grievances:

• The removal of Osborne from the meeting by the threat of arrest for criminal trespass was an intentional obstruction, impairment and hindrance of both the administration of law and governmental function by means of “intimidation, force, physical or economic interference or obstacle.”

• The removal, or the voting to remove, Osborne from the meeting were acts of intentional official misconduct and were intentional acts of unauthorized exercises of official public duties, and such actions were intended by all named defendants to harm Osborne.

• Removal or voting to remove Osborne from the meeting were acts that caused Osborne public shame and humiliation.

• The City of Burns and its police department negligently trained Cook.

• The council and city manager had an ulterior motive, namely to harm Osborne and keep him from speaking at the meeting by threatening to have him arrested for criminal trespass if he did not leave the meeting before it commenced.

• There was no warrant for the arrest of Osborne on Oct. 27, 2010, and none of the defendants had probable cause or reasonable grounds for removing Osborne from the meeting or threatening him with criminal trespass arrest and prosecution.

The complaint alleges the actions of the defendants also violated Osborne’s rights regarding the first, fourth, fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Osborne is asking for a judgment voiding any and all decisions made by the council on Oct. 27, 2010, and for a permanent injunction against the council enjoining the defendants from violating ORS 192.610 (the Oregon Public Meeting Law). He is additionally requesting reasonable attorney fees, cost and disbursements incurred in this cause, and for such other relief as the court deems just.

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